Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Leprechaun's Lost Lunch

Coming from a FOB where there was one mess hall, a Pizza Hut trailer, and an espresso stand, the stunning array of chow halls, (at least 10), fast food joints (maybe 30), and civilian restaurants (over 10) on the Baghdad Victory Base Complex is pretty darn overwhelming. While the folks in my office usually stick to either one of the two closest mess halls, when another agent and I had to drop by Coalition HQs to get some radios programmed, we figured on grabbing lunch at the Super Mega Low Mart of mess halls, which is the size of a pro football stadium, and holds almost as many people, most of them Majors or above, with a sprinkling of peons like me. The lines were longer than the commercial breaks on network TV, but we finally got a sandwich, and plunged into the maelstrom of people and tables. We plunked our trays down at a couple of empty spots, then I went in search of a diet soda. I had to circumnavigate the whole darn place before finding a cooler with a diet beverage. I backtracked to my seat, or so I thought, and soon found myself utterly lost. Must've made 4 complete circuits before I just came to a stop, staring blankly at the sea of humanity. I probably looked pretty pitiful, because a tall, wiry Brigadier General stopped, squinted at me, and drawled, "Son, you look damn lost!" I confessed my situation, which drew a laconic, "Guess you better get used to going hungry!" I gave up on my sandwich quest at that point, and met up with my colleague where we had parked the SUV. I ended up dining at the office on Wheat Thins and Crystal Light. Next time I'm faced with dining at the Coloseum of Chow, I'm getting my sandwich to go...

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